2019 Legislative Summary

The 2019 legislative session is over. What did the General Assembly do?  

2019 Legislative Timeline

By law, the General Assembly meets for only 40 days each year. The last day of the 2019 session was April 2.

Any bill that did not pass both the Senate and the House of Representatives will not become law, at least not this year. (However, since 2019 is year one of a two-year legislative cycle, bills may resurface for consideration in 2020.)

Those bills that did pass now go to Governor Brian P. Kemp, who may sign them into law or veto.

As the Governor makes these decisions, they are announced on his website.

This year, Governor Kemp signed a few individual bills during the session, then got a lot of work done April 2, signing 21 bills on the last legislative day.

He now has until May 12 to consider all other bills passed this year.

If he takes no action, passed bills will become law. (New laws take effect July 1, unless noted otherwise.)

In the case of a veto, the General Assembly may reconsider the bill in 2020. If two-thirds of the House and Senate vote in favor, the governor’s veto is overturned and the bill will become law.

Passed and Signed Bills

Here is the full summary of bills set to become law:

  • Act 1: The first bill signed by newly elected Governor Brian P. Kemp amends existing law to require drivers to stop for a stopped school bus, unless “separated by a grass median, unpaved area, or physical barrier.”

  • Act 2: This act puts forth a referendum on the incorporation of the city of Skidaway Island in Chatham County.

  • Act 3: This act makes adjustments to the current fiscal year (July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019) budget.

  • Act 4: The “Patients First Act” authorizes the Department of Community Health and the Governor to request waivers, from the federal government, regarding the implementation of the Medicaid and Medicare programs in Georgia.

  • Act 5: This act adds a judge to the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit.

  • Act 6: This act abolishes the office of elected county surveyor of Lincoln County.

  • Act 7: This act changes the number of members serving on the Quitman County Water and Sewerage Authority.

  • Act 8: This act provides that the judge of the Probate Court of Clay County shall also serve as the magistrate of the Magistrate Court of Clay County on or after January 1, 2021 (or upon vacancy of the office of the magistrate, whichever occurs first).

  • Act 9: This act authorizes the City of Fitzgerald to levy an excise tax.

  • Act 10: This act provides that future elections for the office of chief judge of the Magistrate Court of Cobb County shall be nonpartisan elections.

  • Act 11: This act provides that future elections for the office of probate judge of Cobb County shall be nonpartisan elections.

  • Act 12: This act revises the number, manner of selection, and compensation of the judges of the Magistrate Court of Putnam County.

  • Act 13: This act pertains to the Screven County Industrial Development Authority, revising the projects that the authority may undertake, providing the authority with the power to issue notes, and clarifying other powers of the authority.

  • Act 14: This act creates the Bryan County Public Facilities Authority.

  • Act 15: This act provides a new charter for the City of Dawson.

  • Act 16: This act provides a new charter for the City of Tybee Island.

  • Act 17: This act provides a new charter for the City of Sparks.

  • Act 18: This act provides a new charter for the City of Statham.

  • Act 19: This act creates the Rome Building Authority.

  • Act 20: This act adjusts the compensation of the members of the County Board of Education of Floyd County.

  • Act 21: This act provides for an accountability court supplement for judges of the State Court of Chatham County.

  • Act 22: This act changes the determination of a quorum for meetings of the board of the Sinclair Water Authority.

  • Act 23: This act revises the education districts of the Pickens County Board of Education.

  • Act 24: This act sets the standard for future voting machines in Georgia to require an auditable paper trail, extends the time before a registered voter may be considered inactive, and relaxes how the “exact match” voter registration rule is enforced.

  • Act 25: This act amends Georgia law to decriminalize needle exchange programs.

Let Your Voice Be Heard

The session may be over, but there is still another year left in the term of the 155th Georgia General Assembly.

When they get home, let your elected officials — the Senator and Representative for the area you live — know how you feel about the job they’re doing.

If you have feedback on legislation, passed or pending, let them know.

To find any bill, go to legis.ga.gov and use the search box at the top left of the page. There is also an advanced search option that allows you to find bills by keyword or sponsor.

Each page includes links to all votes taken on that bill, so you can find out how your elected officials are representing you.

You can also contact the Office of the Governor to share your opinions. Governor Kemp has a presence on Twitter and Facebook.

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